Parents Need to Guard Their Child’s Privacy


A recent survey by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s hospital revealed that a majority of parents are using social medial outlets to share photos of their children with family and friends and to discuss issues related to parenting, a child’s health and important milestones.

It’s a trend Joyce Lee, MD, MPH referred to as “sharenting” in a health blog posted March 16 on the hospital’s website.

But parents may be jeopardizing their children’s privacy by posting a great deal of private information on websites such as Facebook and YouTube, writes Lee.

What may seem cute to a parent today may prove humiliating to the child and damaging in the future.

The innocent posting of “adorable” photos of children — in swimsuits, bathtubs, or just a diaper — appropriate for the family photo album, are being stolen by “strangers” who use “your kids’ photos and identity from your social media content, creating new social media accounts for the baby or young child and performing “role playing” with the false identity account,” warns Lee.

Photos are being taken without permission for commercial use, or to exploit money from parents and other relatives, law enforcement agencies have also warned.

Information and photos posted by parents can identify a child’s routine and location, placing them in danger.

Some information should just remain private, for safety reasons, and to avoid a child being unduly humiliated or discounted by colleges or employers in the future.

Once it’s out there, there’s no way to take it back forever, warn Internet experts.

Parents should be mindful that the pictures they post could make their child a victim of cyber bullying if an unflattering one captures the attention of a bully.

While sharing information and getting help online from other parents has many benefits, we urge parents to think twice before they post, and to be sure that they are only sharing with people they trust.

Even then, there’s likely no guarantee that what you post will not make its way out of your trusted circle.

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